Saturday, May 18, 2002

The Christian stripper mom situation here in Sacto has certainly garnered a lot of local responses. I actually drive by Capital Christian Center on my way to work everyday and noticed that they have a weekly Friday night singles meeting. I wonder what that must be like right now. "Hi, I'm Bob. Are you a strip, err, an exotic dancer?"
This is wishful thinking, but if anyone out there has read through the 10th Circuit's decision in Adarand Constructors v. Slater, 228 F.3d 1147 (2000), I'd appreciate any opinions or theories you might have on why that court's "narrow tailoring" analysis was wrong.
Kathy Shaidle at has issues with the pro-life movement:

The trouble with the pro-life movement is image. As long as "pro-life" equals "attention-KMart-shoppers", "salad" made of green jello and marshmallows, SUVs, sensible shoes and 10 dollar hair-cuts as long as it is something only icky old men and post-menopausal ladies care about (tell THAT one to Dr. Freud) it will remain the political equivalent of lawn bowling.

In an age of short attention spans and an "image is everything" culture, I suppose she has a point. But is marketing savvy compatible with the truth? Look what the need to "be more relevant" has done to the liturgy in most American parishes (I've certainly seen my fair share of clown Masses). Indeed, many Christians -- particularly on the non-denominational-evangelical-megachurch-Protestant side -- seem to only go to church because they know they'll be entertained by lots of happy singing and a jumbotron. Style over substance.

Although I think the pro-life movement would greatly benefit by utilizing different, and more attractive, spokesmen, I'm not so sure it is altogether necessary to tone down the current means of delivering the message that abortion results in the killing of innocent life (e.g., showing pictures of aborted babies). After all, sticking your dog's face in its own waste is usually the best way to make it stop taking a dump on your carpet.

Friday, May 17, 2002

In case I don't get around to blogging this weekend, here's something from St. Thomas Aquinas to think about and discuss around the coffee table:

“The natural law is promulgated by the fact that God instilled it into man’s mind so as to be known by him naturally…the natural law is something appointed by reason …It is therefore evident that the natural law is nothing else than the rational creature’s participation in the eternal [i.e., God’s] law.”

Eat your heart out Linda Richmond!
Here in California, a lot of parents who homeschool their children do so by filing what's known as an R4 Affadavit with the state. This form does not give parents permission to homeschool, but rather to establish a private school. Now it looks as though the state's Department of Education is trying to crack down on homeschooling by informing anyone who requests an R4 form that establishment of a private school for the purpose of homeschooling by uncredentialed teachers is illegal. I've requested a written copy of this advisement, and am curious to see what the state DOE is basing its position on.
If you live in California and have a child in one of its God-foresaken public schools, here's a little statute from the state Education Code you might find handy: Section 49091.12. (a) A pupil may not be compelled to affirm or disavow any particular personally or privately held world view, religious doctrine, or political opinion.
One of the drawbacks about working in a primarily evangelical Protestant environment is putting up with the occasional remarks that make a distinction between Catholicism and Christianity (yes, I am well aware that some Catholics do this as well). Everytime I hear this, I just feel like yelling "Hey buddy, the Catholic Church IS Christian; we don't worship statues or Mary; and the early Church did NOT have jumbotrons!"
I suppose I have no problem with the California Supreme Court's recent decision to uphold the right of Catholic Healthcare West to fire someone because he is an outward adherent to Protestantism (CHW actually claims the employee was fired because of poor work performance). The problem I have is with CHW claiming it is a religious institution, when for all intents and purposes, it really isn't. The courts, of course, cannot constitutionally get into determining whether an organization connected with the Catholic Church is adhering to the Church's core prinicples.
With the Pope's birthday coming up, the media, and not a few Cardinals and Bishops, appear to be back in death-watch mode: Will JPII retire if he gets too sick? Who will succeed JPII when he dies?


Thursday, May 16, 2002

I was thinking about Catholic colleges recently, and I realized there isn't one in the Sacramento area. Kind of odd for a city whose name, I think, comes from the word "sacrament". Go ahead and correct me if I'm wrong.
One last thing on the Christian stripper mom story below: What are the odds that she's an adherent to the doctrine of "once saved, always saved"?
Arrrrrgh! Can't those nimrods on the 9th Circuit get anything right?!

"A federal appeals court reversed course Thursday and ruled that anti-abortion activists who created Wild West-style posters and a Web site condemning abortion doctors can be held liable because their works amounted to illegal threats, not free speech."

"[the wall of separation] metaphor…is not a wholly accurate description of the practical aspects of the relationship that in fact exists between church and state...[the Constitution] affirmatively mandates accommodation, not merely tolerance, of all religions, and forbids hostility toward any." Lynch v. Donnelly, 456 U.S. 668, 673 (1984).
The Godless pagans at the ACLU have sued Louisiana for its abstinence before marriage education program. Lawyers claim the program is being used as a vehicle for preaching religion.
I am amazed at how many non-Christians express outrage and charge hypocrisy when they don't believe a professed Christian has complied with a general teaching in the Bible (e.g., not being "judgmental" of others). Since it's more likely than not that these non-Christians have never even read the Bible -- or at the very least the New Testament -- I don't understand where they get off thinking they know what Scripture teaches.
Here's that story I mentioned (below) about the kid who is being kicked out of a Protestant-based Christian school because her mom is a stripper.

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

As reported by Fox News: "Gays Ask Court to Force State to Issue Marriage Licenses".

The people that have filed this lawsuit are asserting that they have been unconstitutionally discriminated against and deprived of equal protection under the law. To a certain extent, these people are correct. However, because sexual orientation has never been deemed to be an immutable suspect classification (much like race and ethnicity are) the state's "discriminatory" conduct here should be upheld as constitutionally valid. Massachusetts has as much of a right to deny a marriage license to homosexuals as they would to minors.
Supreme Court upholds part of web porn law. Consensus is that nobody won or lost. Only pro-abortion, pro-homosexual rights, anti-Christian Justice Stevens dissents in full. Big surprise.
A federal district court judge in Iowa has determined that a public high school choir cannot sing "The Lord's Prayer" at its graduation ceremony as long as the two students who brought the lawsuit against the school are members of the choir. You guessed it, these two students are atheists.

I haven't had a chance to read the judge's written decision on this yet, but I can already tell I'm not going to agree with it.
Protestant evangelist John Jacobs ends brief second marriage.

Oh yeah, the Church should allow priests to get married...
As a passionate baseball fan (I follow the Dodgers and the Red Sox) I find this story about the possibility of another strike to be disheartening.
Have not been able to find a print story on it yet, but on the way to the office this morning I heard on the radio that a local Protestant megachurch here is Sacramento, Capital Christian Center, will not allow a kindergarten student to continue on at its school next year because her mother is an exotic dancer (i.e., stripper). The funny part of this story is that the mother doesn't believe her "profession" in any way contradicts the teachings of this church. Stay tuned.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Hey, Amy Welborn gave me a link on her page, and I didn't even ask. Cool and thanks!
Another disturbing legal factoid: it is apparently not illegal in California to show or distribute child pornography if it is done for a "legitimate educational activity". If I've read the statute correctly (Penal Code Section 311.1(b)) teachers in elementary schools can show kiddie porn to their students under the guise of education! (Of course, the teachers would still have to comply with all the parental notification requirements for instuctional materials dealing with sex and human sexuality -- See California Education Code Sections 51550-51555).
Interesting, and somewhat disturbing, legal factoid: Possession of child pornography in the state of California is only a misdemeanor. Yeah, you can be put in jail, but not for more than a year.
Well, at least they're honest about what they think about us.

Bible Baptist College -- Springfield, MO

BSST 433. A Survey of Roman Catholicism

This course provides the student with a knowledge of the teachings and belief system of the Roman Catholic church and comparative recent developments resulting from Vatican II. It discusses why the Roman Catholics believe their unique doctrines such as Mary worship, the holy Eucharist and transubstantiation, the other sacraments, the priesthood, the confessional, etc. This course is designed to help students better understand how to witness to Roman Catholics and lead them to the true saving Gospel as presented in the New Testament. 1 semester-2 hours
Supreme Court sidesteps "clergy malpractice" case involving secret voice taping. I don't know how this case will turn out in the lower courts, but if it comes down to whether the priest properly adhered to Church policies, regulations and customs, I expect the case to be thrown out. Courts cannot, and should not, be in the business of interpreting religious doctrines.
Found the following course offered at a Protestant-based school in California called BIOLA (Bible Institute of Los Angeles) University. I'm guessing there aren't any Catholics -- serious ones anyway -- who go there or even bother to apply.

TTTH707 Roman Catholic Theology
School:Talbot School of Theology
Course Description:
A detailed study of the tenets of Roman Catholicism; reading from representative Roman Catholic literature; particular attention given to the distinctions between Roman Catholic and Protestant doctrines. Especially helpful for those contemplating missionary service in countries dominated by Roman Catholicism. Elective.

Monday, May 13, 2002

A US federal district court has found the land use portion of the Religious Land Use and Institutionalized Persons Act of 2000 to be facially constitutional. This is significant to the extent that RLUIPA prevents all levels of government from using zoning laws as a pretextual vehicle for discriminating against religious institutions. Kind of ironic that Slick Willy Clinton is the one who signed this bill into law.
I heard on the radio that one of the Bishops, I forget which one, who is being civilly sued for not protecting children from sexual abuse has asserted that priests are essentially self-employed individuals. This is significant, in that one of the elements that must be proven to hold a person liable for negligence is that the person had a duty. If in fact priests are self-employed, then it cannot be said that the Bishops have a legal duty to protect anyone from the conduct of any priest. The problem I see, however, with attacking the duty aspect of negligence here is that Bishops do have a fair amount of control of where a priest is assigned.
Cardinal Law has asserted that moving Fr. Geoghan from one parish to another was primarily based upon the medical advice given to him by trained specialists in the area of psychology. If Cardinal Law and the Boston Archdiocese get off the hook in the civil suits filed by the victims of Geoghan's abuse, blame the medical community, not the diocean lawyers. Since the early 1970's organizations like the American Psychological Association have been co-opted by amoral activists with decidedly left-wing political agendas.

Sunday, May 12, 2002

An underlying principle of secular humanism is the concept that truth (particular in regard to reality) is nothing but a social construct. This is the basis for which a reader has argued against the existence of God and why homosexuality cannot be regarded as abnormal or disordered conduct. Two things I would raise: There is not one surviving civilization in the world that regards homosexual conduct as normal. There may be different levels of tolerance for it, but not even the most atheistic non-religious society believes it to be in accordance with the laws of nature. Second, the assertion that truth is a social construct is internally contradictory. Truth cannot be both relative and transcendent at the same time. On a more practical level, who would want to live in an environment where truth is relative and decided by the majority; where what may be rape to one person is simply sexual foreplay for another? Life is ultimately meaningless if truth is a merely a social construct.